Kaspars Podnieks’ exhibition “Paddock”, in Vilnius
Through 28 September, the Vilnius gallery AV17 is hosting the exhibition “Paddock”, by Latvian artist Kaspars Podnieks.
In the exhibition, Podnieks presents an exposition composed of various mediums (photographs, video records, and installations) with a naturally flowing narrative that pulls the viewer into the images’ cultural experience, forcing one to reconsider the structure of daily life that surrounds us.
Kaspars Podnieks’ works portray his native village of Drusti – its landscape, portraits of locals, and self-portraits. In addition, the exhibition features two installations that represent everyday objects from village life, through which all-encompassing processes and their cyclicity are revealed. Moreover, the pieces talk about constantly reviving, moving, and changing relationships which, in nature, work as a mechanical clock, but which are reluctant to keep running in the social environment – they cannot break open the “paddocks” that humans have created for themselves.
At the center of the exhibition, the viewer sees objects from daily village life which are surrounded by moving and still images representing the village of Drusti (which is where Kaspars Podnieks lives and works). The gallery has divided Podnieks’ artistic oeuvre between two separate spaces: the upper floor space allows spectators to take in a bulky and noisy installation of a milking machine, while another part of the exhibition leads downstairs, where one sees portraits of both villagers and the artist himself as they seemingly “float” over Drusti.
Podnieks’ large-format photographs at the 55th Venice Art Biennale
Kaspars Podnieks is a conceptual artist whose main subject of artistic research is the village of Drusti and the daily lives and routines of its inhabitants. Podnieks analyzes the phenomenon of modern-day rural life through creating contrasts with objects usually associated with large urban centers, thereby touching upon the political and social aspects that make up the barrier dividing city and country people. Having studied in the Latvian Art Academy’s Department of Visual Communications, Podnieks made his first splash on the contemporary art scene with his photography series “Neparasta vieta / An Unusual Place” (2008-2010). Since 1998, Podnieks has participated in more than 60 group shows, both in Latvia and abroad. In 2013, together with Krišs Salmanis, Podnieks represented Latvia at the 55th Venice Art Biennale; their exhibit, “Ziemeļi-Ziemeļaustrumi / North-Northeast”, included Podnieks’ large-format photographs and videos featuring portraits of farmers taken on their homesteads in Drusti.